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Sit Right Down

Lingering is encouraged in the SoHo store. Just as good as the merchandise: the free interior design service.

The SoHo neighborhood of Manhattan has evolved into one of New York City’s premier design shopping districts, so it’s natural that Safavieh Home Furnishings would open its latest showroom here. The new store at 150 Thompson Street is situated in a classic SoHo building: A century old, it housed an antiques store for many years. Then Safavieh purchased the property, consistent with its long-term strategy of owning the real estate occupied by its stores. The original decorative iron columns and other structural elements were left exposed for that old, raw SoHo look, but the retail concept is something new. “This is Safavieh’s break-the-mold store,” says Lorraine Gordon, who together with her associate, Suzanne Petrozinno, designed the look of the showroom. How so? “Rather than try to show our vast inventory, we’ve concentrated on modern design and curated it tightly,” she says. “That means a clean, lightly accessorized presentation. The furniture settings look the way people want their apartments to look—airy and uncluttered.”

The new Safavieh showroom in SoHo has myriad items for sale, from furniture and rugs to lighting, art—even bedding, loads of scented candles and a collection of large mineral specimens. But it’s all presented in an airy, uncluttered atmosphere, matching the look people want in their homes.
The facade of the new showroom is a classic SoHo storefront. The long run of steps encourages shoppers to sit and relax.

Nonetheless, there’s plenty of inspirational merchandise on two large show floors—furniture, lighting, rugs, art and accessories, including, for example, an excellent selection of premade accent pillows designed for Safavieh by Aviva Stanoff.
Large mineral specimens are another distinctive collection that Gordon is proud of. Organic, gem-like and in some cases museum quality, these stones are “statement accessories” that can add real drama to a home.
Reflecting an expert designer touch, some of the curation in the new store is so subtle that one might not notice. For example, the upholstery patterns on display are relatively small in scale, matching the smaller scale of urban interiors.
The Safavieh team also took care to represent a whole spectrum of price points. So, while the look is always high-end, there’s something in the SoHo store for every budget.
Of course, the atmosphere here is meant to be relaxed. Everyone is welcome to browse, sit down and test the furniture, enjoy a beverage, linger and imagine life in a refurnished personal space. It’s then easy to take the next step by consulting with an interior designer. That could be Lorraine Gordon herself or one of her colleagues.
“We have a full design center in the SoHo store, the same as in Safavieh’s other locations,” she explains. “Most of our customers end up working with a staff designer, and why not? The service is free! It guarantees that you get the look of your dreams.”

Inside, the modern roomscapes have been pared down for greater impact.
A massive specimen of amethyst tops a gorgeous wood coffee table.
Natural and neutral, the bedroom setting at right reflects a contemporary urban sensibility.